Social media sites always seem to be tinkering with what they offer and how we interact with their products.
Sometimes that tinkering leads to exciting results. Sometimes it’s just confusing, even to me and I lead a public relations firm that assists clients with their social media campaigns!
Luckily for me, we have some savvy staff members who understand the ins and outs of social media and are always happy to fill in any gaps in my knowledge.
In fact, it was two of my staff members, Jonathan Sellers and Jay York, who brought to my attention recent announcements by Twitter and Facebook about three new features.
I was intrigued by what they told me.
It seems that Twitter reached a deal with Google Inc. that will make those 140-character tweets more searchable online. Twitter also announced it was partnering with Bing Translator to provide translations of tweets in different languages.
Meanwhile, Facebook added a “call-to-action” button that businesses can use to drive traffic to their websites, sell a product or interact in other ways with customers.
All three developments provide exciting new marketing opportunities, but it seems to me that many of us may be left scratching our heads when it comes time to put them to use.
So I asked Jonathan and Jay, our social media and marketing strategists, to tell me more.
Here’s what they had to say.
The Twitter/Google agreement presents great potential for companies that use it in the right way, Jonathan says. In the first half of this year, tweets will become visible in Google’s search results as soon as they are posted because Google is being given access to Twitter’s “fire hose.”
This fire hose doesn’t hook up to the hydrant on the corner. Instead, it’s the stream of data generated by Twitter’s 284 million users. In the past, Google had to crawl through Twitter’s site for the information, but now it will be visible automatically.
Learn more about EMSI’s Social Media Marketing campaigns here.
Companies will want to put themselves in position to take advantage of that, Jonathan says, so that when someone out there launches a search, the results include your company’s tweets.
Those people searching could be potential customers, he says, because social media works a couple of ways.
Often, people just scroll aimlessly through their Twitter feeds. They see something that catches their fancy so they click on a link. But likely they just have a passing interest, so they may or may not end up doing business with you.
People conducting searches are different. They are on a mission, looking for something specific. If you offer what they want, you need to make sure they find you.
Key words become important here, Jonathan says. Your tweets need to make use of key words that potential customers are likely to use in a search. That’s going to require some thoughtful planning on your part, and companies that employ knowledgeable social media strategists will have an advantage.
Businesses also need to be timely in their tweets. If something is happening in the world that relates to their product or service, they should quickly post something so they are part of the conversation, Jonathan says.
Thanks to the other recently added Twitter feature, businesses can do that even if the conversation happens in a foreign language.
Previously, you could copy a tweet in a different language into a translation website, but that was an added step, Jay says. With the new Twitter translation feature, a quick click let’s you know what that tweet in Spanish, French, Dutch or other language says in your native tongue.
“It is not going to be a perfect translation, but you’ll understand what they are saying,” Jay says. “From a business standpoint, I can read tweets from customers, for example, that are in Spanish. I can respond in English knowing they can click a button and translate it to their language.”
The new Facebook “call-to-action” button is perhaps a little less groundbreaking, but significant for businesses all the same, Jay says.
The button appears “above the fold” on a business’ Facebook page, next to the “like” button. Don’t look for something that says “call to action,” though.
Instead, Facebook gives businesses several words or phrases to choose from, such as “book now,” “contact us,” “shop now” or “sign up.”
The button means potential customers are just a click away from being directed to your website to perhaps buy a product or be added to your mailing or email list.
“There have been questions about the value of Facebook for businesses,” Jay says. “Facebook is trying to prove that value.”
Jay tells me that these added features for both Twitter and Facebook are “all part of the growth and evolution” of the social media sites.
I think that makes for exciting times! Now it’s up to companies and their marketing teams to see if they can take advantage of the opportunities this evolution provides.
Calling you to action!
P.S. If you need advice on the best social media strategies for promoting your brand, give us a call at 727-443-7115 ext. 208 or start by getting your Free Media Analysis here!